Organization pulls scholarship funds from Libyan USU students

USU student Abeer Alakari is one of 2,500 Libyan students attending college in North America on a Libyan scholarship that is now stuck in diplomatic financial limbo. Caught between a civil war in her home country and international sanctions on Libya’s leader, Alakari and all other Libyan students were told there will be no money available through their scholarship program after May 31. “Just thinking about that right now, I am completely paralyzed about what I’m going to do,” Alakari said. Alakari’s scholarship, funded by the Libyan government, pays for tuition, living expenses and medical insurance. She has no idea whether there will be money to support her and her family after next month. Alakari has an F-1 visa and therefore is allowed to work in the U.S., but her husband, an F-2 visa holder, cannot. She was told there is no way a person with an F-2 visa can work. “I would really appreciate it if the U.S. government would take a step – like, to do humanitarian actions – for the families who are living in the U.S.,” she said, “(and) give permission for F-2 visas to work.” The United States froze $30 billion of Libyan assets at the end of February, less than two weeks after the uprising in Libya started and leader Moammar Gadhafi retaliated violently against the rebels. The United Nations and European Union also passed similar sanctions. This doubtlessly tightened the financial reins of Gadhafi’s regime, but it also indirectly affected the Libyan students studying at universities and colleges in the United States and Canada. Because of safety risks and no-fly zone, going back to Libya is not an option for Alakari and the other Libyan students. To Alakari, an even better option would be to unfreeze the Libyan funds. That money belongs to the Libyan people, not Gadhafi, she said. Freezing Libyan scholarships is a victory for Gadhafi because his actions in the country are also controlling the Libyans who live abroad. “It doesn’t make sense to me that the money is…

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